07 February 2007 ~ 0 Comments

The Multi Church Event

As youth ministry has matured over the years we’ve seen more and more organizations develop that host youth ministry events that churches can bring their kids to. In my nine years of youth ministry it seems to me that the number of multi-church retreats that we’re invited to has increased.

Generally, I think these events can be very beneficial. Retreats are a lot of work and often one church doesn’t have the resources to bring in the speakers or bands that multi-church events can. Additionally, youth directors are busy people, so simply mailing in registrations sounds pretty great if that’s all we have to do for a retreat. The kids who attend these retreats also tend to be affirmed in their faith by seeing huge rooms of kids just like them who are on the same journey.

What opportunities are we missing by going to these youth ministry events? Certainly I would say that a church that doesn’t have a strong sense of community itself doesn’t seem to develop the same community on multi-church retreats that they might on their own retreat. My experience has been, however, that a group with a strong sense of community truly thrives at the multi-church retreat.

Another tough component for me personally is my leadership style. I like to be in charge, think of new ways of doing things, and dream about possibilities, so obviously the multi-church retreat can be frustrating unless I’m in charge- and then I wouldn’t be very interested after I come up with the ideas.

A second tough piece is that the theology or teaching portion may not be in line with your congregation or the teaching may not be a great fit for your group of kids. I have been in situations where theology different than what we believe is presented and it leads to great conversations- but conversations about different theology isn’t really we go on retreats.

Finally, I feel the multi-church event may be helping us perpetuate the “drop in” model of youth ministry. That is to say- you can take what goes on in one place and drop it in to your context. Each ministry context is unique and we must be very aware of this as we plan our calendars and retreats.

I could go on, but I think I made my point. What’s your experience with multi-church events?

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